What is an implantable loop recorder?

  • An implantable loop recorder is a heart-monitoring device that continually records your heart rhythm for up to three years.
  •  It records the electrical signals of your heart and allows you to remotely monitor the signals through a small device inserted just beneath the skin of the chest.
  • The most common causes of ILR include looking for causes of fainting, palpitations, and very fast or slow heartbeats.

Why do I need an implantable loop recorder?

  • Other cardiac monitoring devices, such as an ECG or a Holter monitor, may not be able to answer questions about your heart that an implantable loop recorder can.
  • The information collected by an ECG or a conventional Holter monitor is just for the duration of the test. Because some heart rhythm abnormalities occur infrequently, they can be missed.
  • An implantable loop recorder can monitor your heart impulses for a long time it will record your heart's function or abnormalities during an event. 
  • Your doctor can make a specific diagnosis and prepare a treatment plan by using the information collected through a loop recorder.
  • Long-term cardiac monitoring using an implantable loop recorder revealed heart rhythm problems that caused stroke better than 24-hour Holter monitor. Doctors have used the results to help prevent certain strokes when administering blood-thinning drugs.

Please watch this video to learn more about the benefits of an implantable loop recorder:

What happens during a loop recorder implantation procedure?

Under normal circumstances, you can expect the following:

  • Medicine may be given to you to help you relax.
  • A local anesthetic will be given on the skin in the area of implantation to numb it.
  • Your doctor will make a small incision in your skin. This is usually done in the left upper chest.
  • A small pocket is created under your skin. He or she will place the loop recorder in this pocket. 
  • The device is about the size of a flat AA battery.
  • Your incision will be closed with sutures. A bandage will be put over the area.

References: Implantable cardiac monitoring or loop recorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fraserhealth.ca/health-topics-a-to-z/heart-health/heart-surgery-and-procedures/arrhythmia-procedures/implantable-cardiac-monitoring-or-loop-recorders#.YV1vU0ZBwnU